We have been going on smaller ship cruises these past few years and decided to go on one more large ship cruise just to see if we were missing anything. Even before we embarked, standing in line for over 2.5 hours we knew our answer. Though the accommodations were what we expected, the location of our cabin near the stern of the ship on deck 10, gave us a distinct disadvantage when getting off on shore excursions. The deck layout requires walking to mid ship to descend the elevators to Deck4which is where the tenders or gang planks are located to get off. This led to considerable congestion, resulting in so many delays, we missed one shore excursion in the typical 45 minute wait time to get off.
Samana, Dr was our first port of call. We took a cat ride for a snorkel. the other ports of call are described in other parts of this review.
I understand corporate greed fairly well, but x raying baggage for alcohol is so petty. Our baggage of one bottle for cabin consumption certainly backfired on Norwegian as it did for many other passengers who reacted the same way as we did, by simply not buying as many drinks as we would normally have done. Prior to the cruise, we scoured the website and available literature and found no such alcohol policy so we thought one meagre bottle would not be an issue.
Espresso was OK but pricey and the cappuccino tasted like regular coffee with milk, also at a special price. Almost everything came with an extra cost.
Ignore Norwegians', "no reservation policy for pool loungers". Though many loungers were empty, we could never sit around the pool due to "towel reservations" during the entire 10 day cruise. This policy is not enforced.
Public restaurants almost always required waiting in line B, L and D but the specialty restaurants, if you can afford them were usually empty, except for the Teppanyaki room (21 seats at $25.00 each).
The sneeze guards in the public buffet (Garden Cafe) were so low that we needed an extra elbow in our anatomy to reach anything and it did not prevent other people from touching food with their hands...hence we elected to not eat there.
The free walk off with your own bags is an improvement over other systems, but get in line early as many other passengers want to do this also. The line-up behind us seemed to encircle the ship and we were in line over an hour before disembarkation was to begin.
Overall, the cruise staff were very happy, friendly and made up for the shortcomings and changes in the cruise line...not a single grumpy person on the ship and eager to please all the cruisers as best they can.